EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska --
Sixteen unaccompanied Airmen visited Aleyska Resort, Girdwood, Alaska, on a chapel-sponsored ski trip aimed to build morale.
Airman stationed at Eielson face a unique challenge -- harsh, long winters and little recreational opportunities. This can be especially disheartening if Airmen have to face it away from friends and family in a dorm room.
The chapel held a four-day trip to Aleyska for single or unaccompanied Airmen to encourage them to connect in a positive environment. The trip provided Airmen with seminars focused on love, sex and dating as well as an opportunity to grow spiritually and talk with the chaplain in a relaxed environment.
“We want to see Airman come together and have a really good time, connect meaningfully with each other and hopefully develop some relationships with each other,” said Chaplain (Capt.) Phillip Vincent, a 354th Fighter Wing chaplain. “When it comes to the spiritual content of the retreat our goal was to foster dialog about sex, dating and relationships, which is a relevant topic, especially for our single Airmen.”
The chapel offset most of the cost of traveling, lodging, food and lift tickets. Sign up for the trip was limited to the first 16 single or unaccompanied Airmen on a first-come, first-serve basis. Airmen were able to enjoy the many amenities a larger city offered, such as a greater variety of shops and restaurants.
“When I first got the email what stuck out most to me was ‘ski trip,’” said Senior Airman Wesley Hale, a Detachment 460 Field Maintenance technician. “Like many others I didn’t necessarily see that there were going to be seminars about relationships. We got here and had fun on the slopes, but what really stuck out to me were the seminars. I think it’s a good think for single Airmen to be able to see the spiritual side of things, and for the chaplain to be able to connect with us on that level.”
There were several chances to stop along the way to and visit many restaurants and shopping centers in Anchorage, Alaska. One of the favorite stops was a local pizzeria in Anchorage known for their handcrafted pizzas.
“I think everyone had a great time on this trip,” said Airmen Eustacio Marquez Jr., a 354th Maintenance Squadron Aircraft Armament technician. “As far as the seminars go, a lot of people are going to take away from it that relationships are no joke: don’t rush into a relationship, you should take your time and work on yourself before you jump into one.”
Hale is hopeful that everyone on the trip really paid attention to the seminars and takes something away that could make their life better.